rapha nyc

We hadn’t spoken to each other in hours. 

It had been pouring rain all day, turning the dirt roads of Battenkill into mud and putting us all into a dark and quiet place. There are times when it’s not fun, the times when you can’t feel your hands, your legs are screaming and you are not anywhere near done. There are moments when saliva mixes with vomit and you try, try not to lose that wheel in front of you, the one that is inching forward, forward, forward away from you. 

But what can you do? You shake your hands out to get the blood back in them, you get in the drops and back onto that fucking wheel and you let the suffering of the day knock against you like waves. You do this and most importantly tell yourself, “this is worth it”.

Sometimes people ask me what I think about when I am on the bike for that long and the truth is I don’t know. I guess it depends. On a day like this you think about the pain, you think about your heros and imagine themselves tempering themselves in the rain and the mud. You think about love in the form of your riding partners not making fun of you when you can’t lift your head. Shit, you think about cheeseburgers and girls, anything to take you out of the horror that you are currently living, but then even on the darkest days sometimes you think about how beautiful it is.

You lick your lips, crunching the dirt that was on your face, look down at your quivering legs and laugh because it really is beautiful. You keep your head down and attack one more time because when you think about this ride in 10 years (and you will) you want to remember that you didn’t let the darkness win, if only for a moment you didn’t let it win.